Genetics is a scientific discipline that primarily studies the fundamental building blocks of life on Earth – DNA. Recent advancements in human health such as the rising prominence of CRISPR technology and the advent of affordable whole-genome sequencing in medical care make this field to be a valuable area of study. Western University’s Genetics module is one of six biology-related specializations that are offered to undergraduate students. There is the possibility to obtain an honors specialization, a major, and a minor in this area.
To understand life within the genetics module, we interviewed various students for their perspectives:
“Why did you choose the genetics module?”
“Choosing my module came down to deciding between biology and genetics. I really liked biology in high school, but in first year I realized that I got excited whenever they started talking about things involving cells and the stuff that happened inside. After a lot of thinking, I picked genetics because I knew I was way more interested in what goes on inside of cells than any other aspect of biology.”
Students within the genetics module tend to have a strong background, and interest, in biology prior to attending university. Moreover, these students are interested in the aspect of biology that occurs on a microscopic level, such as cells and DNA, rather than biology on a macroscopic level like the behavior of animals and migration patterns.
“What opportunities are presented to you because of this module?”
“I have two electives [in second year] which I know that a lot of other modules don’t have, such as the biology module where you have to overload [on] courses. This has given me the opportunity to take business basics for science majors and a philosophy course, both of which I am excited to take as they are both ‘out of the ordinary’ biology courses.”
With a major in genetics students have a wider range of flexibility when it comes to choosing courses that coincide with their personal interests, rather than overloading on heavy science courses. This allows science undergraduates to have a less cumbersome experience, all the while becoming educated on a broader range of subjects that are not specifically biology-related.
“How is the work load and the difficulty of the module?”
“The workload is definitely manageable. I haven’t had any problems with staying on top of my course material. At the end of every week, I go over all the stuff they’ve taught us in class that week … so far it’s working for me.”
If students have a good work ethic and avoid procrastination, the workload within the genetics module should be manageable. This involves having proper time management, understanding when and how to study, and paying attention in class. Maybe even try some of those active learning strategies Haffie talks about, if it works for you.
We hope this gives you a brief look into the life of a genetics student. For more information, you can refer to the links provided below.
Edited by Michael Groff and Caroline Rodrigues